The Art of Negotiation with Household ExpensesIf you are living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to pay your bills, or even if you are living comfortably and want some extra cash in your pocket, there are ways to save on your household expenses. Bills, such as a mortgage, cable, credit cards, car loans and more can be negotiated.

Yes, I said it! They CAN be negotiated! 

Recently I have become unemployed, and my husband is the only one in our household of 5 that is earning an income. I love that I can stay home with my kids, but I have two in diapers and my seven year old attends Catholic school, so I have had to find more ways than just couponing to stretch our money. I have been searching for ways to cut my monthly household expenditures and thought I would share some success that I have had! 

Mortgage:

Check with your local credit union. My local credit union offers no closing cost options for new mortgages, 1st time home buyer programs, and if you have a ridiculously high interest rate (like we do) they offer refinance options as well. My current interest rate is 6.375% and through my credit union I can refinance for around 4%, which would save us over $100/month. I have had great success through my local credit union and feel like they offer extremely competitive rates for their products so that is why I chose to go with them. 

*Also, if you have Previous Mortgage Insurance on your loan, you can ask for a re-assessment of the loan to see if they can remove it. We have been unsuccessful with this three times, but I do check once each year to see. Once that is removed we will save $60/month!

Cable Bill:

I was just recently able to negotiate my monthly cable bill. I had tried before without luck, but this time was different. If they did not help me, I would have had to cancel and cut the bill out all together. I would have had very sad kiddies too. I called and spoke with a wonderful lady on the phone, she listened to me explain that I did not want to cancel, but due to an income change I did not feel as though we could afford to keep our cable - our bill was $137/month.

The key is to be nice and honest; having been in the customer service industry I know how it is when people are rude and obnoxious on the phone and you will always get more by being nice, trust me! I truly thought they would just cancel my service and call it a day since I was unsuccessful in the past trying to obtain a discount. I was shocked and impressed when I was transferred to someone in a different department and she found me an excellent discount package for the same two products I already have! My bill has decreased to $85 per month for a $52/month savings for digital cable and internet.

Credit Cards:

If your credit card rate is less than desirable, you should call and kindly speak to someone at the company to see if there is anything they can do to give you an interest rate reduction. Many times they are willing to help you out if you have made payments on time and you will save a lot of money on the monthly minimum payment with a lower rate.  

Car Loans:

We refinanced my husband's car loan a couple of years ago and shaved two years off of the life of the loan as well as lowered the payment $50/month. I never knew that a car loan could be refinanced until my credit union mentioned it to me when I was setting up a savings account! His car will be paid off this December and we went from 12% interest rate to 5% by refinancing his loan.

Electric/Gas Bill: 

This can be difficult, especially when you have rough winters as we do here in New York. There are programs that can assist you if you meet the income requirements. Sadly, we make a tiny bit more for a family of five to qualify for HEAP, but it is definitely worth checking in to. Always know what products and services are available to you so you think of them when you are in need. Visit your local city, county and state websites for program information. 

I hope you have success with at least one of the suggestions I provided above, and always know that you have to ask in order to receive!

Nikki Muroski, Guest Savvy Spender Blogger for leading provider of CareOne Services, Inc.

 

Nikki Muroski

My name is Nikki Muroski and I am a mommy of 3, a wife and a blogger for my site, Nickel-and-Diming with Nikki. I have 2 boys and a baby girl that keep my life interesting, to say the least! My husband is an executive chef so, on occasion, when he isn't working, I get to eat a decent (hot) meal! I have four college degrees; an AA, BA (both in Communications) an MS in Management with HR specialty and a Master of Distance Education. I enjoy writing, couponing, eating peanut butter cups, playing the Wii and spending time with my family!